Horst Farflung was born into the Warcrown Clan, Shield Dwarves scattered when Citadel Feldbarr fell to the Goblinoids generations ago. His birth was something of an oddity amongst Dwarves, as he was born not under the stone of vaulted halls, but under the open sky in a treed, serene valley. His mother had even named him to reflect his origin, as in dwarf, ‘Horst’ meant ‘of the woods’.
While most of the clan worked the hills and mountains as Dwarves do, Horst felt a calling to the treed valleys and hills leading away from the mountains. For some reason, the call of stone did not take with the young dwarf. In fact, the young dwarf disliked being underground; he felt confined, he missed the breeze, the sound of the wind passing through the pine, the warmth of the sun on his skin.
Thankfully, Horst was the youngest son of a Clan Chief, Hulgrumm Farflung, far removed from the responsibility of leading his people. His four older brothers happily contended with their father against the evil that permeated under the mountains while Horst spent more and more time in the open world. Thonur, Gralnus, Regdan, and Duldir may not have understood their younger brother’s taste for the outdoors, but they tolerated it, as it ensured the youngest of them would not contend for Clan leadership, as no true Dwarf would ever follow someone that so preferred the outdoors to the stone halls of their ancestors.
His desire to explore beyond, not below, led
his mother to take him to the Volamtar of Marthammor. If her son was going to
wander, he would do so under the proper guidance of the Dwarf Watcher over
Horst’s youth was spent with the Volamtar, learning what it was to wander, to range out among the trees instead of deep in the caves of the mountains. The young dwarf learned to hunt, to track, to move as silently as the breeze through the trees. It was a level of freedom the dwarf had yearned for; testing his skills not in the confined tunnels and caverns, but in the open world. Marthammor, Horst decided, was right to look outside of his father’s stone to the rest of the world.
As all dwarves do, Horst hated the green-skinned Orcs and goblins that had pushed them from their ancestral home. While he did not contend with them for the halls and mines below, he found plenty of the foul beings infesting the valleys and forests he so loved. The Volamtar frequently led small bands of Dwarves against Orc or Goblin raiding parties, intent on harassing their enemy on yet another front.
One spring day found the Volamtar, Horst and a few others tracking deer to feed their clan. Their hunt was interupted by the unmistakable grunting and wanton destruction of a band of Orcs, apparently trying (poorly) to obtain meat in the same fashion. The deer hunt quickly changed course, with the Orcs becoming the target. Carefully, the small group ranged out, following the obvious tracks of the Orc band. Maybe a dozen of the vile creatures had come out of the caves to try to find meat. It was not long before the Volamtar whistled the call of a wren, bringing the small group of hunters quietly together under the pine. Not far away, the Orcs had paused, the bright sunlight causing them all manner of problems. Quickly outlining his plan, the Volamtar sent Horst and 2 others to the far side of the Orcs, to have them attack with the sun at their back. Once the Orcs tried to engage, the rest of the hunters would fall on them from 2 other sides, exterminating the vile abominations.
A short time later, Horst and his 2 companions heard the robin’s call that signalled their attack. Rising quietly, all three aimed and shot. Two crossbows and a short bow sang, as bolts and arrow sank deep into unsuspecting Orc flesh. Howling in pain and frustration, the band turned, trying to find their attackers. The sun, however, confounded the Orcs, increasing their frustration. Their indecision allowed Horst and his companions to continue firing into the mob, bolt and arrow finding Orc after Orc, wounding many, even killing two. The badger call was quickly followed by the bellowing war cries of the Dwarves. Leaping out of the surrounding brush, the Dwarf Rangers fell upon the disoriented and demoralized band. Horst quickly slung his crossbow and led his 2 companions into the fray, Battle Axe singing through the air.
The controlled, organized attack of the Dwarves overwhelmed the Orcs, and in a surprisingly short period of time, the ground was littered with a dozen dead, many missing heads or limbs thanks to the broad strokes of Dwarvish Axe and Sword. Only one dwarf had fallen, a brash younger dwarf that had run in too fast, and had fallen to the Orcish blades. Despite the loss of one of his companions, Horst’s blood sang. Even more firmly, Horst knew his place was to range in the open to contest against their enemy.
Horst’s training and tutelage continued until the spring of 1367DR. His Volamtar called Horst and the small band of dwarven rangers that were to meet. In the meeting circle was another, well-armed and armored grizzled dwarf. When all had gathered, he produced a scroll, unrolling it and looking to the group. ‘Warcrown calls all clan members home. It is time to take the Citadel, known currently as Many Arrows, from the Goblinoid trash that stole it from us so long ago. Any true Dwarf of the Clan will join Warcrown, aiding in returning us to our rightful home.’ The dwarf paused, looking at the group. ‘You have been called. Go and prepare yourself.’ With a nod from the Volamtar, the young dwarves hurried to their tents, gathering their gear in barely-contained excitement.
Weeks later, Horst had settled into the Dwarven encampment. Thousands of Dwarves from Clan Warcrown had gathered, ranging from the grizzled and seasoned Dark Hunters, to the Ollams of the Clan, to the berserkers that had ranged into the wilds of the north. The battle was massive, drawn out over days and weeks. Orcs, goblins, their dark ilk did their worst in an attempt to keep the dwarves out of the keep. Battles raged day and night, Horst and his fellow rangers doing their best to engage the flanks, gather information and harass Goblin supply lines. Horst learned to truly hate the green-skinned Orcs and their kin. There was no honour among them, and no tactic was below the evil brutes.
Returning after scouting the Eastern flanks, looking for weaknesses, Horst passed by the remains of a massive battle. Something drew him through the valley, scattered with Orc, Goblin and Dwarvish dead. On the downslope of one of the undulating hills, Horst chanced upon the battered Standard of his clan. Moving to retrieve it, a low moan surprised the young Ranger. Angling slightly, Horst found the origin of the sound. Shock travelled down his spine when he turned over the body of his cousin! Cronk was there, wounded and barely concious. Horst had not seen his wild and unruly cousin since he had left Citadel Adbar years ago. Magnus had never really talked about his younger sibling, only that Magnus held Cronk responsible for their mother’s death (their mother being Horst’s Aunt, once removed). The last Horst had heard, Cronk had been wandering, plying his skills for gold. How the young barbarian had gotten the call, Horst did not know. That he came was even more surprising. Regardless of how he’d gotten here, Cronk was family, and family stuck together. Horst hauled his bloodied and semi-concious cousin up, carrying Cronk off the field towards the encampment down the valley, all the while, the Barbarian muttering something about blue dragons and his brother.